Well I was thinking away about people in general, and remembering some issues I found myself having to shake my head. I was remembering how I was so impressed with some people on first meeting them – only to grow steadily less impressed as time went on. A little confession: when I sit here and shout about two years, the primary person I am trying to get through to – is myself.
Sometimes it can be so tempting to sit here and ask myself “Do I really have to sit here and wait a full two years in checking someone out before…anything?” And then I let my mind think a little bit on hugs…and holding hands…and then I sigh to myself! But then I remember those experiences, and my resolve is hardened – yes, I do have to sit it out, absolutely yes yes yes. Come on Tosin, patience!!!
And then thinking once again on these situations, I think to myself: “Am I just a poor judge of character? Should I have been able to see through these people straight away?” Perhaps those words are a little strong. It is not as if these people are necessarily bad. It is more that ultimately they did not turn out to be quite what I expected, or hoped for. So it is not really a case of “seeing through” them, but rather having a more accurate expectation of their character (it’s always character!)
The reason I grill myself intensively about these issues is because I think of people who don’t evaluate their spouses extensively before marrying them. I ask myself “Is it just that they have a better understanding of human nature?” Sincerely, I think the truth is that many people will do whatever it takes to just get to that altar, with the expectation of sorting out issues afterwards. Otherwise, how exactly do people manage these issues?
While reflecting on the two year thing, this finally crystallised in my mind: that trying to casually/quietly
evaluate or rather get-to-know people for 2 years might work very well in a (church) setting where there are dozens of other young people, if not hundreds. However, in the sort of tiny church environment which I am more familiar with at the moment, it just is not going to happen that someone will casually stick around for that length of time to be evaluated without somehow expressing his interest, if he is interested. As I just wrote that last paragraph, I suddenly felt a little self-conscious. The idea of being evaluated, and that for a whole two years – is that the kind of thing that makes people feel queasy or uncomfortable? I know that in theory we would all love to spontaneously build meaningful and profound relationships where we would naturally click with someone and the idea of evaluating someone makes it all feel clinical and dry and somehow invalid because of that. It’s a bit like how Rachel was livid in the TV sitcom “Friends” when Ross wrote out a list of her points in comparison to her love rival Julie… That is something I myself am conscious of regarding my own friendships, and I’m trying to think of ways to work around that!
So what I thought was this: ideally, I would love to be able to evaluate people for friendship material for a full two years before then going to try to build actual friendships, and from there romantic relationships, if appropriate. Ideally too I would prefer for there to be zero romantic overtones between me and the guy while I am checking him out; I don’t want to admit to him that I am checking him out, even if it is kinda obvious that that is what is happening. However, I am thinking that perhaps in church cases such as mine it might be inevitable that we have that discussion either before the two years or sometime during them. That is, a discussion where we are both upfront about everything. In a way, that would be great, as that would mean greater openness and transparency between us, which is always so good. However one reason why that would not be so good is because I don’t know whether I can trust him yet. That is the entire point, I am waiting for two years to elapse to find out! That is, if his character is not as shining as it might initially appear, then he could use the information that I could be attracted to him to manipulate me. And then a couple of further reasons why it would not be so good: when we both know that we are checking one another out, then we will both be tempted to alter our behaviour to always try to please or impress one another, rather than to act naturally; (perhaps that is a truly futile hope) secondly, once we’ve both admitted that there is mutual interest, then it would be so hard to remain objective and cool-headed, especially when we are both trying hard not to think of the hugs that tantalisingly wink and whisper to be realised in one another’s arms. So we’ve admitted that we are attracted to one another, we’re on the same wavelength, we essentially want the same things in life – and he’s also very huggie – and for the next two years, I’m supposed to be thinking about something else other than all of the above?! I’m supposed to be focusing on character, and prayer life, and all I’ll be thinking about would be smiles and those searing looks we shared even after strictly admonishing one another from the outset that we were not going to exchange any such looks! In short, the realistic possibility of saying anything other than “Yes” to a romantic relationship after all this is practically nil. However the whole point of the two year exercise is to be able to say “No” and walk away if that is what would eventually be necessary.
So then, this is the half-way house measure that I’ve thought of. I’m thinking that I’ll just let things progress quite naturally, just normally at first within very careful boundaries until he finally says something. That is, being friendly and so on, but not getting too close. And if it takes him up to two years to say something, then that’s all the better! So up until that point, it might just be like the way any other guy/girl interaction might progress. And then if he does go ahead to express his interest, then I’ll explain the two-year thing to him, and I’ll ask him to go away and pray very very hard (assuming obviously that I am actually attracted to him etc, and I could see the relationship working). And I will also go away and pray. And then if we’re both “up for it”, if we both feel that a relationship between us could be right, that this would be pleasing to God etc, then we can move forward to the two year thing. The one advantage of this is we would both already be quite sure that we could be right for one another, even before starting the two year thing. Another advantage is that everything would be clear upfront, and no-one would be meandering in any confusion. Yet a further advantage would be that if he is not happy with the idea of hanging around for two years, then he obviously does not have to do it. The big disadvantage of course is that it would be hard to concentrate on what we are supposed to be doing, with that exciting prospect of a romantic relationship hanging over our heads, especially if he wants the relationship as much as I do! I guess that to counteract that we could call trusted people to hold us to accountability. And it is obviously not set in stone. If at any point within those two years it becomes clear that we’re both just being exceedingly silly (and providing lots of amusing entertainment to our church family as they eagerly look on) then we could always regroup, reassess and proceed accordingly!
I just hope that requesting two years after smiling at him will not feel as if I’ve been leading him on, if he does not after all want to wait for two years.
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
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